What are the differences in types of agencies and hiring individual caregivers for in home care?

There are some important differences in your options for hiring home caregivers in Florida. The state of Florida regulates home health care businesses, and there are essentially three types of agencies regulated. The first type is the fully licensed home health care agency such as EasyLiving, Inc. Such agencies go through a licensing and inspection process and meet stringent standards for providing home care, including personal, hands-on care (hygiene assistance, help with bathing, dressing and toileting) and medication management assistance. Most home health agencies also provide supplemental services such as meal preparation, companionship, and housekeeping.

Another type of agency which is registered with the state is a Homemaker Companion agency. These home care agencies are forbidden from providing hands-on care (personal assistance with activities of daily living or lifting a patient), but can provide services such as transportation, meal preparation and housekeeping. A nurse registry is also a registered entity with the state of Florida, but serves as a matching service, rather than an employer of the home caregivers. The client may be responsible for liability and supervision.

Many families seek help through classified ads or by hiring someone who is recommended from a friend. While you may find a wonderful home caregiver this way, you should be fully aware of your potential liability. Consult your attorney and C.P.A. regarding the potential legal and tax implications, as you are typically considered the employer in such cases. Many clients are caught unaware when the home care worker is injured on the job and has no worker’s compensation insurance or disability coverage. A licensed home health agency, such as EasyLiving, employs the caregivers and purchases worker’s compensation insurance, liability insurance and handles payroll taxes, in addition to training and supervising the caregivers. If you have a concern or a home caregiver becomes ill or cannot complete their duties, EasyLiving’s management immediately steps in to resolve the issue.

Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration provides a chart that outlines the requirements of different types of in home care providers.

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